Coach: Dani Seitner
The OSU horse judging team is the only collegiate horse judging team in Ohio. Judging aspects include conformation and performance events like western pleasure, hunter under saddle, reining, hunter over fences, and trail. In addition, there are breed shows. The performance events set horse judging apart from other animal judging events, like livestock judging. The team has to be knowledgeable about all riding disciplines, since each contest is pre-set, and the members will not know what events they will encounter. Horse judging encompasses a wide range of established riding styles. Reasons are a part of all forms of animal judging and include an oral defense of the placing given, which means students need to develop good and quick thinking skills to support their decisions. Preparing for such a large variety of performance events means lots of observation. Videos are the least expensive and most accessible method that the team uses. They also will visit live events as much as possible. For conformation practice, the team will initially work with OSU horses. The ANIMSCI 3301 class also visits farms throughout Ohio.
Horse judging is not just an animal sciences activity, although it originates in the department; many of the participants do have some experience with horses including previously participating in the 4-H horse program, riding for the collegiate equestrian team, and showing in various disciplines. However, having previous equine experience is not essential to being part of the equine judging team, just an enthusiasm and love for horses.